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Female Developers Who Are Changing The World

To celebrate women in technology and more importantly, to celebrate female developers who are changing the world one app at a time. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Nagi Maehashi from RecipeTin and Caroline Kinny-Lewis from Big Baby. Let’s discover what makes female developers so special and unbelievably amazing.

Nagi Maehashi – RecipeTin

Never Tell Me Again Technology Is A Boy's ClubNagi created RecipeTin App with her mother, Yumiko Maehashi after deciding their huge family recipe collection was scattered across numerous locations and they wanted one central place to keep them. RecipeTin is a unique recipe app that lets users capture recipes from absolutely anywhere – both printed and handwritten recipes – without having to manually type them in. Nagi wanted people to be able to use the built-in camera in their iPhone or iPad to capture and save recipes on the fly be it a brochure at Woolworths, a magazine in the doctors waiting room (instead of guiltily ripping out the page), email, websites, recipes you have typed up on your computer or even hand written recipes that live in the “recipe tin” on the kitchen bench! They wanted people to have access to their recipes anywhere, anytime to share with friends also. An app for iPhone was the most obvious solution.

Before you became a developer, what was your past career?

I am an accountant by background and I worked in the real estate finance industry. I worked on things such as mergers & acquisitions, raising capital, IPO’s, creating funds, arranging debt funding. 

Why did you choose to develop an app?

To be truthful… I had an epiphany. Or perhaps you could call it a mid-life crisis! 15 hour days were “normal” for me, and with offices all over the world, I was often on conference calls late at night or early in the morning. I realised that one day I would be 70, I would look back on my life and wouldn’t have actually lived it. All my life I had worked from other people, and I wanted to do something of my own – and get a work/life balance. 

Around this time my family and I came up with the idea for RecipeTin. It was an idea that I was passionate about – being the food obsessed nerd that I am. And that’s why I chose to develop RecipeTin – it ticked all my boxes: something of my own and something I am passionate about. And I got to develop the app with my mum – best partner ever!

Female Developers Who Are Changing The World
Nagi Maehashi

Tell us about your app and what makes it different from the thousands of others?

It is the only recipe app that lets you save recipes on your iPhone and iPad from absolutely anywhere without having to manually input them. If you see a recipe in a magazine, just whip out your iPhone and snap photos, then file them in RecipeTin. Use the built-in browser to save recipes from anywhere online – which you can then view without an internet connection. Save recipes emailed to you by sharing them directly from your inbox to RecipeTin. And you can even transfer recipes in bulk from your computer using iTunes.

What do you want people to remember most about using your app?

How useful it is! It’s so handy having all the recipes you use in your pocket, accessible without internet connection. And it’s so great being able to add recipes on the fly with your iPhone, then viewing them later on your iPad when it’s time to make dinner.

What are the two things you want them to tell their friends? 

This is a really clever app! You can import recipes from the internet with the built in browser, or from emails. And I even added all my grandma’s handwritten recipes without having to type them in!

And I can’t resist sharing a great real life feedback we got from a user: “I love this app so much I went and got an iPad Mini just so I can use RecipeTin in the kitchen while I’m cooking! ” 

Where can we download your app?

The App Store – and only the App Store! RecipeTin is available for iPhones, iPods and iPads with the Mac version due to be released soon.

Name three apps you use everyday

Mail, Calendar and Notes. Boring and predictable, right? That’s the accountant in me coming out. I wish I had a sexier response.

What app do you wish you’d developed?

Words With Friends. I am strangely obsessed with it, and I turn into a crazy cyber-competitive form of myself, especially when I play against my mother. So if I owned it, I could fix it so my mother never beats me….somehow….surely!

What piece of technology can’t you live without?

My MacBook Pro. I realised the other day that my whole life is in my handbag – and on my MacBook!

Who in technology would you most like to meet?

A female tech entrepreneur I would love to meet is Katie May, the founder of Kidspot (now owned by NewsCorp). I was inspired reading stories of her journey, the sacrifices she made, how she juggled a family in Texas and building a start up based in Australia.

And also Steve Jobs. Perhaps a strange answer because he is no longer with us, but maybe I’ll meet him in another place…..one can hope! He is a genius, a visionary who changed the world forever. Who wouldn’t want to meet him?

Caroline Kinny-Lewis – Big Baby

Never Tell Me Again Technology Is A Boy's ClubTwo friends and mothers to young children, Caroline and Gabrielle founded Big Ice Cream in 2012 to produce apps for pre-school and early primary school aged children on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. They believe learning isn’t just ABCs and 123s and that it’s just as important that children learn to communicate with and understand others. Their apps are designed to reflect the diverse social and community experiences of all young children. They wanted to encourage learning through investigation, role-play and fun.

Before you became a developer, what was your past career?

I’ve been producing websites, mobile sites and apps for a long time now. I got into it just after I finished university. I remember producing websites and testing them on Netscape Navigator. I did however do brief stint in art department working on a children’s TV show called SN:TV for Nickelodeon. That was fun. I had to make fake vomit. 

Why did you choose to develop an app?

Gabrielle (my business partner) and I are both mothers to young children and we really wanted to make something that made sense to children but most of all was really fun. Both of us were exposed to plenty apps for this age group because our kids were using iPads at home. Some apps were wonderful, highly engaging and respectful. Others were a bit disappointing. We both had the same idea that we wanted to make an app to encourage learning through investigation, role-play and fun. 

Female Developers Who Are Changing The World
Caroline Kinny-Lewis

Tell us about your app and what makes it different from the thousands of others?

Big Baby is based on doll play and role play so children understand the game straight away. There are no complex rules, no wrong or right, no flash cards. It’s open ended play where children can use their imagination. The thing that makes it really unique is that it’s one of the only apps focused on developing empathy. 

The voice of Big Baby is my now 2 year old daughter. I started recording her from a young age because I love keeping audio files of my kids. So I had an instant sound library for the app and many people have commented that the real baby voicing within the sound design makes the app very different from others. 

What do you want people to remember most about using your app?

It’s respectful and really fun.

What are the two things you want them to tell their friends?

Both boys and girls will love playing Big Baby and it’s a useful app for introducing a new baby into the family where there older siblings. I know a midwife who recommends it to mothers. 

Where can we download your app?

The App Store 

Name three apps you use everyday

Mail, The ABC app, iView 

What app do you wish you’d developed?

Angry Birds or Toca Hair Salon 2

What piece of technology can’t you live without?

I’m always on my iPhone. I use it for work, I read articles and watch video on it. 

Who in technology would you most like to meet?

Giorgio Moroder (credited with pioneering synth disco and electronic dance music. Moroder has also scored on video games.)

Thank you ladies for your precious time and I wish you all the best with your apps.

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Written by Frederique Bros

Frederique Bros is a contributor for Women Love Tech. Frederique, who launched the website, has more than ten years in multimedia, graphic and web design. Born in France, she lives in Sydney with her French Bulldog Oscar.

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